Happy Birthday to us!
Today, history is made as we launch our first ever Irish Community Services blog post! To our regular newsletter readers and followers, hello again and to our new readers, welcome.
We are ecstatic to make ICS history during such an important time for us… September marks 36 years since we were first funded by Greenwich Council and became a registered organization! So, happy 36th birthday to us! We don’t look a day over 35, I’m sure.
The past, present and future…
Where we came from
With anti-Irish sentiment on the rise in the 70s and 80s and there being an estimated 6000 Irish-born in Greenwich borough, it was clear that there was a large community of people whose interests needed to be recognised and to feel welcome in the larger society.
An ‘Irish in Greenwich – The Way Forward’ conference was held by councillors and residents and with support from the Greater London Council, the group’s goal was to promote the interests of Irish citizens. This initiative was then propelled by Greenwich Council in September 1984, birthing the organization, ‘Irish in Greenwich’.
Where we are
Today, we are known as “Irish Community Services” and, though our name changed, our values certainly have not. We are still committed to serving the community and identifying and meeting its needs. As many of you are aware, we recently launched our online community which has been incredibly successful in keeping us connected these past few months. As government guidelines eased, we have been safely holding in-person events such as our relay race and choir in the park which you can read all about in our August newsletter. Additionally, we have been holding small, socially distanced tea cake clubs in the absence of our beloved lunch club. These have been brilliant ways to keep the community connected and have a good catch up.
Where we’re going
There are big things on the horizon for Irish Community Services which we look forward to sharing with you. We are working to integrate the community more and more each day, especially now in these unparalleled times of COVID-19. We continue to welcome your thoughts and feedback.
Our lunch club’s history…
Irish Community Services’ renowned lunch club was brought to fruition in Greenwich, with the first ever meet up held in Glyndon Community Centre, Plumstead where we were hosting lunch club sessions right up to March. The lunch clubs were our way of providing companionship, fellowship and a place to relax and socialize over a good meal. To this day, there is still high demand for our lunch clubs where people can chat, eat, make new friends or catch-up with existing ones.
Our volunteers were and still are key to the lunch club’s success. From helping in the kitchen, to setting and serving tables, we are beyond grateful and indebted to them for all they have done and continue to do in the running of the lunch club and in other initiatives and operations.
Fondly known as the ‘Community Hub’ to some, the lunch club is celebrated for its uniqueness where it avoided having one permanent location and, instead, came to the people with varied locations across the boroughs, ensuring that you feel at home when you dine with us. It is also famous for its inclusion: anybody was welcome to join!
Our lunch clubs have been greatly missed by attendees and volunteers alike and more. We cannot wait to get our beloved lunch club back up and running safely. As soon as it is safe to do so we will.
A special thank you to Greenwich Council and the successive Irish Ambassadors who saw and believed in our vision, allowing us to flourish into the great community organization that we are today and for their continued assistance.
We cannot thank you all enough for your ongoing support and we hope that you feel supported by us. Until next week… Here’s to 36 more years!